Ow, my spine!

More baseball soon, I promise. I have two games to blog, but I didn’t have photos of the scorebook. Lame excuse, you say? Hey, it’s my blog. Suck it up.

At any rate, an update on my own health. I’m finally dealing with my neck and back problems, and I had a consultation with a nurse practitioner, who recommended an MRI, since it had been 18 months since the previous one. I got that done last week, and this morning had the followup discussion with Mark, the nurse practitioner. The upshot is that I have problems in two areas. C4-5 is the original herniation, which is still there and flattening my spinal cord. Yay. This is probably the source of my recurring pain on the left side. The new thing is that I have “severe disc degeneration” at C5-6. This is affecting my right side more than the left, and starting to cause shooting pains in my right arm. Yay.

The narrowing is really obvious on the MRI. In a normal spine (and in the parts of mine that are normal) there is a buffer of cerebrospinal fluid around the spinal cord, about the same thickness as the cord itself. In the C4-5 and C5-6 areas of my own spine, though, this buffer goes down to nothing, and the bones of my spine are actually squishing the spinal cord. This is what’s causing the pain.

In the long term, this pressure will increase, as I get older and my spine continues to deteriorate, and it will (eventually, hopefully not soon) cause pain, numbness, tingling, and increase my risk of spinal cord injury in the case of say a traffic accident. My sister Deborah went through something very like this, and Michael struggled with arthritic changes in his lower back – and, of course, Mom has had back problems since forever. I guess I just need to fit in.

Right now, this is treatable (we hope) with steroid injections. In the long term, I’m probably going to need surgery to relieve the pressure. For now, that’s in the future, but I am planning on getting an MRI every two years to monitor the progress.

Some part of me thinks I should be freaked out by this. But I’m not.

I guess I don’t have enough energy left to worry about this. It’s not cancer; what do I have to bitch about?

Edition wars

The Dungeon Bastard captures my position perfectly: http://youtu.be/yRZ1CYYIsCg.

I spent some time today with my friend Steve. He’s moving to California for a new job, which is very cool and also very sad. We’ve been friends since grade school, and we have very similar tastes in a lot of things. I was looking through his game collection, very little of which is going to survive the move, to see if I could find memories of my brother Michael. I succeeded, which is a topic for another post.

The thing I found really interesting, though, is that he has copies of all the releases of D&D since the first hardcover releases – the original D&D books, 2nd edition, 3rd edition, 3.5 and 4th edition. We talked a bit about which ones to keep – he wants to find a gaming group in California, and would like to run a game there. He likes the Forgotten Realms setting for 2nd edition, so is thinking that might be the right one. He’s decided that he doesn’t like 4th edition, which I understand.

My suggestion was that he keep just one book – his first edition Player’s Handbook. I figure that will demonstrate his geek cred, and if he finds a group in the Bay, they’ll probably be playing Pathfinder anyway.